As Barry and Joe investigate Harrison Wells’s involvement in Nora Allen’s death, their progress is interrupted by a homicidal maniac calling himself the Trickster who commits a string of whimsical and deadly mass murder attempts. However, this man isn’t the first Trickster, because a man named James Jesse (Mark Hamill, reprising his role as the Trickster from the original series and Justice League) who also calls himself the Trickster has been in prison for twenty years for committing similarly whimsical mass murders. Joe and Barry visit Jesse in prison to interrogate him about this new Trickster, which he says he has no knowledge about. Jesse even seems to be offended by this pretender to his legacy, stealing his stuff and wearing his mask. Of course, its all a scheme to break Jesse out of prison while taking Henry Allen hostage for safety. The two Tricksters (who turn out to be father and son) infiltrate an elite fund raising party, poison the guests with a slow acting toxin, and then demand their money in exchange for the antidote. The Flash arrives to stop the mayhem, but the Tricksters attach a speed bomb to him, telling him that it will explode if he runs under six hundred miles an hour. Barry frees himself from the bomb by vibrating himself through a truck, then heads back and captures the Tricksters, administers the antidote, and rescues Henry. Later, Barry reveals to Eddie that he is the Flash, enlisting his help to keep Iris off Well’s track and to keep her safe as they investigate further into Wells’s past.
Hamill’s reprisal of his Trickster role from the 1990 The Flash series is pretty much everything you could hope it would be. Hamill keeps that hamminess from the campy original, but despite the slightly less silly tone of the new series, somehow manages to fit in perfectly. It also helps that Hamill is creepy as hell – a Hannibal Lecter level manipulator and murderer but with a discomfiting maniacal humor. One can’t help but see a touch of the Joker in Hamill’s performance, partly because the characters share so many characteristics. There were really too many golden moments to expound on here, but one specifically that stood out is when Hamill told the young Trickster, “I am your father.” A little on the nose, perhaps, and clearly a purposeful reference by the writing team, but delightful all the same.
The true story of Harrison Wells is unexpected, but explains a lot about his enigmatic past. There was a time when Eobard Thawne and Harrison Wells were two different people – the first the man from the future locked in an epic battle with the Flash, the second a brilliant scientist beginning his path to greatness. Thawne found himself trapped in the past after his battle with Barry and the death of Nora Allen, so formulated a plan that involved transforming himself into Wells (killing Wells and his wife in the process) in order to speed the development of the particle accelerator as a means of getting home. Finding out that Wells had his life stolen from him by some insane speedster is kind of painful – because despite his plotting and betrayal, you like Wells and you want the STAR Labs team to be like a family. Knowing that Wells – the original Wells – was the man we wanted the Wells-impostor to be makes his loss that much more tragic.
Meanwhile, Iris is sleuthing around trying to find out what happened to Mason Bridge. After Eddie tells her that he’s probably fine, she seeks out the Flash’s help to find him. Joe and Barry are afraid that Iris’s investigation will lead her to Wells and that her life will be in danger. This leads Joe and Barry to do something incredibly drastic, revealing to Eddie that Barry is the Flash and that they are currently investigating Wells. They get Eddie to throw Iris off the scent, which he does against his better judgement. While Joe and Barry think its necessary to hide things from Iris for her own protection, Eddie finds this logic highly debatable. I think Eddie loves and respects Iris too much to coddle her the way her father and Barry have done. At this rate, the truth about the Flash is going to come out sooner rather than later, especially given Eddie’s wide-eyed looks at Barry and Joe. Iris is bound to notice something weird is going on.
While Barry already suspected that Wells had something to do with his mother’s death, he comes to the even bigger realization that Wells is the Reverse-Flash. He doesn’t know how, or why the blood at the crime scene doesn’t match Wells, but its clear from how Wells talks to Barry about feeling his speed that he is speaking from the experience of a speedster. I don’t see how Barry or anyone else is going to figure out about Eobard’s transformation into Wells unless Wells himself reveals it, but it should be an interesting road to discovery either way. And if Barry can keep his feelings to himself, rather than making veiled passive-agressive references to Wells’s treachery, then something might actually get done before Wells destroys everyone.